I went to Climate Camp today, the beginnings of it anyway. I wrote this about it; it's a bit more jounalisty than what I am used to posting on here, but I still hope you enjoy it.
Climate Camp 2009 started at twelve, noon with six locations throughout London, revealed through text to people that had signed up to the event on the website. We started our journey outside the Bank of England where tattooed and dread-locked individuals mingled with the suited bankers of the city. Orange shirted stewards gave out leaflets on how to deal with police searches whilst journalists clicked away with their cameras and tried desperately to find out who the person in the highest authority was so they could interview them. The atmosphere was relaxed but with an air of apprehension about how events would pan out for the rest of the day; people swapping stories about which clause they were stopped under during the G8 protests and debating whether kettling would be used again at this demonstration.
After an hour of hanging about and a couple of awkward but essentially harmless encounters with Bobbies on the Beat, our leaders informed us that we would be taking the DLR towards the Cutty Sark. Our group weaved its way out of the city towards Greenwich – journalists ever present, close to outnumbering the activists.
We reached the common at the top of the hill, the towers of the city still menacingly close; a banner declaring, “Capitalism is Crisis” flying defiantly below them.
Tepees are being erected around us, the bold amongst the protestors climbing their peaks and waving at passersby and the patrolling police. There are certainly hopes that the police will learn from their mistakes during the G8 and give the campaigners the chance to express themselves freely, but each person we have spoken to remains wary.
Regardless, spirits are high with workshops and lectures planned throughout the duration of the camp making this more than just a chance to wave a few banners and grumble about the police. The happy campers will be able to learn how to reduce their carbon footprint; attending workshops on how to build wind turbines and compost waste, as well as ways to deal with the media and the police.
The high flyers in their dockland apartments overlooking the camp will no doubt be tutting to themselves and rolling their eyes at the campers’ naive attempt to change the world. But these activists mean business – and with compost toilets and copious amounts of vegan sausages, anything is possible.